coin celebrates the role played by the paddle-steamer as a form of transportation that opened up possibilities and opportunities
for the continued development of Australia as a nation. It is a five dollar
coin struck into sterling silver by the Royal Australian Mint. The paddle-steamer coin is one from a set of five that
makes up the Masterpieces in Silver collection named 'Opening of the Continent.'
(Coin Web, 2013)
Each coin represents a different form of transportation creating a network that connected the wide-spread colonies from
across the land, enabling the progression of industry, agriculture, trade and general cultural development. Other transportation
networks that are remembered and celebrated within this collection are the Bullock Team, Camel Train, Steam Train and Steam
The obverse of each of the coins was designed by Raphael Maklouf and
features his traditional portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This is complimented by the
surrounding the portrait, which reads ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 1997. The reverse
of this particular coin from the collection bears the image of a paddle-steamer travelling down a river expelling steam
with trees lining the banks on either side. The only
on the obversereads 5 DOLLARS. The collection had a limited
of 10,000, was packaged in a cushioned black box and came with a 1997 Masterpieces in Silver Certificate of Authenticity.
The paddle steamer was a very versatile vessel that would have been used on the rivers of Australia for a variety of purposes.
Although paddle wheel boats go back as far as the 15th Century in Europe, they were important to colonial Australia during
the 19th century. At this time there were very limited numbers of roads and travelling inland through the harsh terrain of
the outback was challenge to say the least. Travelling on the rivers was the simplest and hugely successful method of connecting
the colonies that lived along the rivers. They would transport goods and supplies such as wool and fresh produce and other
would carry mail and building materials. At the beginning of the 1900's there was a vessel called the PS Etona, which acted
as a floating church.
(National Museum of Australia, 2013)
Not only did the paddle steamers provide an important service but they also had a significant role in making the more
isolated colonies feel more connected the rest of the world through sharing the news from around the various communities.
One of the oldest working paddle steamers in the world can be seen at the National Museum of Australia. It is the largest
object that remains to be functional at the Museum and was first put into action over 130 years ago.
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